The location sounded perfect for development and worth the $12.2 million sale price -- 138 acres near the intersection of Boggy Creek and Narcoossee roads -- just south of Lake Nona, with a boat dock and direct access to East Lake Tohopekaliga.
So after closing the sale of the Floridian Mobile Home Park in late January, the new owner, an affiliate of MHC Management Services in Jacksonville, hired a real estate consultant to help determine what could be built there.
But after an initial meeting March 2 with Osceola County planners, the would-be developers pulled the plug on the project. Their consultant, James Kauchick with Value Tech Realty Services, told GrowthSpotter that developing the site simply wasn't economically feasible.
"The RV park and mobile home park make sense financially the way it is," Kauchick said. "It had been owned by someone who wasn't enforcing the deed restrictions. So as a new owner, you can go in and clean it up and fix it up. It makes financial sense. The whole point of the meeting was to understand what further could be done at the property."
But the site would have had severe environmental constraints. And complicating matters were the 139 privately-owned mobile home sites in the middle of the proposed development.
"We looked at it and said what can we do? We can't build single family there. We can't build a hotel or another hospital. So we thought townhomes," Kauchick said. The county planners didn't object to the concept, but the owner would have had to invest in costly floodplain mitigation - not to mention the expense of moving out all the mobile homes. "It didn't go very far."
Pulte Homes ran into similar problems earlier this year when it attempted to rezone the 96-acre Boggy Creek Resort and RV Park for an upscale marina development similar to AV Homes' Bellalago. Both parks offered waterfront access to East Lake Toho -- and the Pulte project would have even come with its own private marina.
But Pulte vice president of land Clint Ball told GrowthSpotter in late February the builder nixed the deal and allowed the purchase contract to expire. He said the cost of removing the existing infrastructure, including a private sewer treatment plant, made the project financially unfeasible.
Sometimes the best course of action is to cut and run. Kauchick said the good news for his client is that they are in the business of managing mobile home parks, and they now have one that generates a good return.
"You look at it and you think gee, this is an incredible area. Look at all the stuff that's going on," Kauchick said. "You could make it work, but there's the investment of intellectual capital. How much time and effort and money is all that going to take? The reason why things don't work is that companies can't invest unlimited intellectual resources to get this done."